Spent a fun few hours today playing with my Raspberry Pi.
I had already downloaded an OS in anticipation, so the first job was to flash it onto an SD card. I’ve used Raspbian Wheezy, which is a version of Debian optimised for the Pi and ideally suited for someone new to Pies (in other words, me!). For those who don’t know, the Pi doesn’t have a hard disk. In fact it doesn’t come with anything much. I bought a power supply for it, otherwise that’s it. So the OS is on a 4GB SD card, which I stuck in the Pi’s SD slot, I then connected an ethernet cable between the Pi and my router and plugged in the power supply. Voila!
It’s a long time since I used one of those old-fashioned PC things so although I have an old Apple USB mouse kicking around, I haven’t got a USB keyboard. That isn’t really a problem for me as I don’t intend to use it as a traditional computer. So the next step was to set the Pi up so I could access it remotely. On my Mac I used Airport Utility to find the Pi’s IP address, then I started a Terminal session and used ssh to connect to the Pi. At this point there were a couple of things to sort out. When you flash the OS to the card, the OS image effectively hides any remaining free space (about 2GB on my SD card), so I resized the partition so that the whole card was available, that means I can to add more programs etc. later on. The other thing was to allocate a static IP address to the Pi, if I left it to DHCP there’s no knowing what IP address it would get next time it booted and I’d have to keep looking it up (or guessing), which would be a pain.
There may be times when I want to run the GUI desktop so I installed a VNC server. “sudo apt-get install tightvncserver” did the trick. At the moment I will have to start the vnc server before I can use it, later on I can configure the Pi so that it starts up when the Pi boots if I find that’s necessary. At the client end,I’m using Chicken (of the VNC) on my Mac, I’ve also downloaded VNC and SHH Apps to my iPad so I’ve now got several ways to access the Pi. Here’s a screenshot from the Mac showing the Raspberry GUI.
That’s it for now, I’ve got quite a few more things which I want to do. I’ll keep you posted.